Umbilicus Minimus

He enters the arena
no longer looking to draw swords
but catching furtive glances
over rims of pints and tumblers
from prior adversaries
who didn't bleed out in the dust
like movies make-believe.

There's no such demographic
as retired gladiators.
Survivor guilt means less
than wasted olive branches.
The thumb of judgment hangs
like the buy-backs that don't come.

He'll take his latest lovely
to the zoo next time instead.

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